On militant groups asking him not to accept the Indian invitation:
It is a "wrong attitude" to say that there should not be any talks with India. "It seems very immature to me", he said in an interview to Pakistan magazine Herald while replying to a question on the appeals made by the leaders of the militant groups asking him not to accept the Indian invitation.
"The objective is to solve the problem of Kashmir... There are two ways to achieve this objective. Those who are fighting say that they can achieve it by fighting. But there is another way of achieving this objective and that is by peaceful negotiations. It is quite obvious that an intelligent person will say that if the solution is found through peaceful negotiations, what is the need for fighting?" he said.
"In the past we have been fighting. We have fought wars. I think if are able to resolve it by peaceful means, there should not be any need for fighting. I think that those who say that there should not be any talks have a wrong attitude," he said.
The right time?
Asked about his past statements that he would use his influence to scale down their militants if India displayed sincerity in starting a peace process, Musharraf said "the time has not yet come."
"The time will come when talks are held and they make progress. The present meeting is step one in the process. Now it remains to be seen that the talks begin and they begin on Kashmir and then they make headway."
Replying to a question whether he would take further steps to improve the atmosphere so that the talks made progress, Musharraf claimed, "Well, it was I who took all the initiatives. We displayed restraint on the Line of Control (LOC).
They, (India) responded to it and it was I who have been saying that process of dialogue should be initiated in a peaceful way and they have been rejecting it. I have taken many steps. Now they have invited me and I am going. This is also a step,"
Now we have to see what solution is ... We have to see the views and the interests of the Kashmiris, as the situation directly affects them," he said.
Musharraf said he had been optimistic about the dialogue process starting, at some point or the other. "But then so much time passed that I had started to become a bit pessimistic and thought perhaps they do not want to have serious dialogue. So in that sense it is surprising it has happened."
Asked what could have motivated India to extend the invitation, he said, "I think there is some overall change in the environment though I do not know the details. I think there is considerable change in their domestic atmosphere, in the public opinion and also in their media. It is as a result of this change that they have made the offer of talks."
Musharraf said he would be going to New Delhi with an open mind on the Kashmir issue. "Open mind does not mean that we start discussing something else and do not discuss Kashmir. We will discuss the Kashmir issue. And with regard to that issue I shall go there with an open and flexible mind."
Asked whether he meant that both sides should demonstrate flexibility to achieve a breakthrough on the Kashmir issue, he said, "Yes, I do mean this very thing. Both countries have their respective stated positions. Talks make headway and some solution becomes possible only when the two sides show some flexibility in their stated positions. This is my objective and it is with this end in view that I intend to go there."
However, he was not sure whether there was any room for flexibility. "This will have to be seen after going there. If the two sides stick to their stated positions, it is quite obvious that it will be difficult to find some solution," he added.
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